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Thursday, 16 April 2015 00:00

Community eyes and ears on dementia sufferers

Regardless of your profession we can all become carers within our community, without having to give up a minute of our day jobs.   In fact if you work in an environment that sees elderly customers or clients on a regular basis, then you could be in the best position to notice if their condition is worsening.   
A case in point is that of a bank manager in Japan, Asahara who over the years of dealing with elderly clients started noticing that they needed help remembering where they put their bank cards or their money, and since then has made it part of her business to double check where her elderly clients would put the money they had just withdrawn.   While many people would be alarmed at being watched to this degree in a bank, she didn’t take note of where everyone’s money went, just those who were elderly and who on a regular basis would return hours later not remembering having withdrawn or had lost their money.   She would then be able to tell them which jacket pocket to check or in which purse it had been put into, and which handbag carried the purse.   She has since taught all the bank tellers that she manages to take extra care of their elderly clients, and has become an expert on dementia.   She even goes so far as to notice signs of dehydration and weight loss as well as rapid deterioration of cognitive abilities and will contact social services if necessary.   
Japan has one of the fastest ageing populations and the National Institute of Population and Social Security estimate that globally by 2050 over 135.5 million people will have some form of dementia.   
If more companies around the world adopted the same mind-set in caring for elderly clients as Asahara, it would go a long way in curbing the isolation that the disease brings on those affected by it, and would help not only existing carers and family members of those living with dementia, but most importantly the dementia sufferers themselves.   

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